Our pick of the action from this year's Outdoors Show at the NEC.
We spent last Friday at the 2009
Ordnance Survey Outdoors Show
at the NEC and, to be
honest, thought it wasn't as good as last year's show with fewer
exhibitors squeezed into a smaller space than before. There was still
stuff worth checking out though, you just had to dig a little. Here are
a few of the highlights in pictures.
We were taken with this pointy teepee family tent, the Outwell Indian Lake
It sleeps no fewer than six people in two bedrooms with added living
room and has all mod cons. That thing at the top isn't just for show
either, it's proper vent designed to maximise ventilation. Then we
found out how much it costs, a whopping £819.99. Eeek...
This was our favourite stand with soft-accented Scottish folk promoting
Islay as a destination via the persuasive medium of Bowmore malt whisky
was available for tasting and purchase too. You'll never guess what we
took home in our daysac... Or maybe you will.
After rolling out there Ion Mask waterproof nano-technology on leather
boots last winter, Hi Tec
has turned its attention to fabric-uppered boots and shoes for spring
summer 2009. This is the V-Lite Skamania - odd name - with waterproof
upper and seam-sealed construction. More at www.hi-tec.com
This is a polecat that we found on the National Trust
stand. It has a name, though with the best will in the world, we can't
remember it, partly thanks to the Bowmore stand, above. Oh. it's
stuffed by the way, though we're not sure of the NT's official policy
on taxidermy.... Animals are so much easier to photograph once they're
soft shell jeans made their bow at the show. Made from Epic denim with
fibres encapsulated in silicone, they're highly water resistant and
pretty much windproof too. Fit is snug and the full production version
Also new are Alpsocks.
Top secret Alpkit meths burning stoves with lightweight aluminium
anodised pans. You can expect prices a lot lower than Trangia, we think
we heard £30 mentioned, but you'll just have to wait and see.
Siliconised nylon packs are also in the offing.
This is the bike that Alpkit
athlete John Ross
, aka 'Shaggy' rode to a brilliant fourth
place in this year's Iditarod race across the frozen wastes of Alaska.
Alpkit provided special sleeping bags, luggage and a huge but very
light bivvy bag made from Epic. More at www.dazeoftundra.com
and congratulations to Shaggy on a cracking performance in some
promoting it's online route planner. It's a quietly impressive bit of
kit, but tends to run slower and slower as you add waypoints, until you
can go off and make a cup of tea between clicks. The company are
working on it however.
Plenty of have a go stuff, particularly for the kids. This was a giant
bath tub full of paddly things...
And this, rather improbably, is brush boarding. And no, we don't see
the point of it either. Especially at an outdoors show... We were
Another year, another selection of small boys playing with lethal
firearms in the name of military recruitment.
Some impressive indoor trials bike riding skills on display. These guys
have clearly had a bit of practice.
New UK outdoor footwear brand CÀRN
was showing off its new range of trail running, walking and trekking
footwear. Full report.
going bright for spring. On the left is the Signature Aspira Smock
in lime and cobalt - not recommended for the shy and retiring, while on
the right is the British Antarctic Survey's special Ladies Aspira
Smock. Also launched nationwide was...
... the Velez Adventure Light Smock, previously only available in
Paramo's London store, now generally available. It has a lighter face
fabric that the standard Velez - left - which saves significant weight,
around 20 per-cent over the standard version. Full
Good to see the Oxfam /
Grangers Fabric 4 Life
partnership going great guns. The
idea is that Grangers are cleaning and treating outdoor clothing
donated to Oxfam to give it a new lease of life and make it saleable
and useable. That red bin in the background was full :-)
More about the Alpkit Colab Innovation Award shortly, but this is the
one and only Captain Paranoia with his stunning Squeezebox
canvassing hard for our vote...
We wanted this to escape from air-conditioned exhibition world, but
didn't have the bottle to pinch it. Just wait till next year.
Meanwhile these guys were searching for the secret underwater escape
tunnel that leads out into a world of bright sunshine and tropical
fish. We're not sure if they found it...
Plenty of places to try climbing as well. Not only on the many indoor
walls for both adults and kid, but also, for those who were game
enough, on the actual course used for the Skymasters climbing
competition. Not as high off the ground as last year, but still
And that's it for this year folks. Will there be a next year? We're
honestly not sure. We've spoken to quite a few people who were
disappointed in the show and it felt like it had shrunk since 2008.
Guess we'll just have to wait and see.